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2022-6-21: Trying out a derestricted pedelec a while ago made me think back to the following: Long ago I read in a magazine that road cyclists wouldn't be able to ride at an average of 30 km/h in a city. I wanted to see about that so on the route from my student room to my parents' house I tried it a few times, first researching the route to get the shortest route but also the route that has the lowest number of traffic lights. From that room in Leiden to the edge of Leiden was ca. 5.0 km, and on my first serious try after having selected the route on a map first then riding it, I got to 31.5km/h. This was with only 2 traffic lights and 1 crossing where you can roll through if lucky, otherwise a stop. The 2nd time I tried it I got to 33 km/h. This meant going close to 40 km/h on all long straight sections. So I got a speed higher than what was claimed you could do, but this was a speed that you can normally not achieve as within a city on most routes you get a lot more traffic lights and sections where going fast is not safe.
I would estimate the average speed with the city where I now live to be at maximum 25 km/h on fairly good sections due to many traffic lights, when riding 30 km/h whereever possible. This only works on specific sections, in many areas the roads are bad (unevenly laid bricks), and you can only reach about 20km/h average.
I tried a pedelec recently and I was not impressed. I felt it added almost nothing for me, with tailwind nothing, with headwind almost nothing, up hill a little easier.
I tried the same bike with restriction removed and it was much better. I rode about 5km this way, on the long sections of that trip which was not typical, I could ride ca. 33-34 km/h easily, and I got to an average of ca. 23 km/h. That was not bad but not much faster than with just pedal power. 5 km at 20 km/h (which would be easy due to long stretches and good asphalt) is 15 minutes, 5km at 23 km/h is 13 minutes. So 2 minutes saved, not much. The feeling of speed comes from the long sections where you can ride fast without much effort (to reach 33-34 km/h would take quite a bit more effort with just pedal power), so it feels a lot faster even though the average is not that much higher.
2023-3-22: A few months ago I made a long test ride on a newer pedelec with the latest Bosch Kiox display and automatic Enviolo hub. I still felt it wasn't very useful, I got to a 23 km/h average over ca. 35 km. Interesting about this system is that it shows the power that you put in. I don't know how accurate that is but it seems like a lot of power is wasted from the whole system as I was riding 27 km/h on various sections, i.e. a speed at which there is no support from the electric motor.
As it was a loop through open terrain and through a city, I could see the difference in power depending on wind.
To ride 27 km/h:
1) open terrain, light tailwind: 220 W,
2) almost no wind, in the city: 240 W,
3) open terrain, light headwind: 270 W.
This seems rather a lot for 27 km/h (despite trying to be aerodynamic on the bike)... I estimate I would ride 30+ km/h on my normal bike with this power. Even with the Enviolo taking 10% compared to a derailleur, this is possibly coming from the electric motor not running freely. I will investigate this further at a later date. It would be interesting to get a power meter to check such things...
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Last modified: 2023-3-22